Advanced Biblical Hebrew I
Dr. John C. Reeves
Office hours: R 2:00-3:00; or by appointment
A critical reading and translation of biblical, non-biblical, and postbiblical Hebrew prose and poetic texts. This semester we will focus upon literary works in the Bible customarily associated with the prophet Jeremiah as an ‘author’; viz., the Masoretic textual tradition for the books of Jeremiah and Lamentations. We will also devote considerable time to the study and analysis of the Qumran Jeremiah corpus, especially the work dubbed 4QApocryphon of Jeremiah. Per our longstanding custom, close attention will be given (where relevant) to other manuscript and versional evidence, parascriptural works (e.g., 2 Baruch; Paraleipomena Ieremiou), rabbinic midrash, prophetic legends, and traditional postbiblical commentaries (Rashi, Ibn Ezra, et al.).
Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (ed. K. Elliger, et al.; Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelstiftung, 1977), or later reprints of this edition. Alternatively, one may use the relevant portions of the Miqra’ot gedolot or just about any other Hebrew language edition (e.g., Koren; Kittel; Letteris) provided there is no western translation adjacent or in near proximity to the Masoretic Text.
W. Gesenius, E. Kautzsch, and A. E. Cowley, Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar (2d ed.; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1910). Numerous reprints. This is the standard English-language reference grammar for biblical Hebrew. If you intend to be a student of biblical Hebrew philology, you will need to own and frequently study this book.
Moreover, you will also find on the bookstore shelves two recommended titles for optional purchase which are outstanding basic introductions to the textual study of the Hebrew Bible:
Emanuel Tov, Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible (2d ed.; Minneapolis: Fortress, 2001).
Ernst Würthwein, The Text of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979).
Supplementary readings and/or exercises will be assigned or distributed by the instructor as needed.
a. Diligent attendance and preparation. Almost perfect attendance is an essential requirement for this course. Each class session builds upon the knowledge gained and skills acquired during previous meetings. Moreover, oral recitation and group study/discussion comprises practically the entirety of every class session. The instructor’s assessment of one’s attendance, class preparation, oral recitation, and verbal contribution to class discussions constitutes 100% of the final course grade for undergraduates; 50% of that grade for post-baccalaureates and graduates.
b. Research project (Graduates and post-baccalaureates only!). One (1) formal research project to be presented in oral and written form (at least 15 double-spaced pages, exclusive of notes and list of sources) that focuses upon a particular topic relevant to the philological, literary, or reception-history study of Jeremiah and allied traditions. In consultation with the instructor, the student should select a topic of individual interest that permits such an extended exposition, analysis and/or evaluation. Both components of the research project account for the final 50% of the course grade for graduate and post-baccalaureate students.
c. Final class. A required final class for all enrolled students will be held on the date and at the time officially mandated for the final examination for this course by the UNC Charlotte administration. Further details regarding the class will be provided later in the semester.
d. Each student is responsible for all lectures, readings, class discussions, assignments, and announcements, whether or not he/she is present when they occur.
a. The grading scale used in this course is as follows:
|91-95+||A||demonstrable mastery of material; can creatively synthesize|
|81-90||B||some demonstrable proficiency in control of material & analysis|
|71-80||C||satisfactory performance of assignments; little or no analysis|
|61-70||D||inadequate and/or faulty understanding of material|
Moreover, √+ = A-; √ = C+; √- = D, and a 0-70 evaluation for graduate students = U.
b. One of the requirements of this course is to complete the work of the course on time. Sometimes there are legitimate reasons for late work—an illness or other emergency. ‘Emergency,’ however, does not include your social involvements, travel plans, job schedule, disk and/or printer failures, the state of your love life, your obligations to other courses, or general malaise over the state of the world. The world has been in a mess as long as anyone can remember, and most of the world’s work is done by people whose lives are a mass of futility and discontent. If you haven’t learned yet, you had better learn now to work under the conditions of the world as it is. Therefore:
1) All assignments are due at their announced dates and times. In other words (and please note well!), there will be NO MAKEUP OPPORTUNITIES scheduled. All missed assignments (these include weekly oral recitations!) will be averaged as a 0 in the computation of the course grade. No exceptions will be considered or granted.
2) For accounting purposes, letter grades bear the following values: A=95; A-=92; B=85; C+=78; C=75; D=65; F=30.
3) Since your diligent physical participation is critical for the success of this course, attendance at class meetings will be monitored by the instructor. One absence is regrettable; two absences are the limit of tolerability. Three (3) or more absences will result in an automatic F for the course. Please note that the instructor does not distinguish ‘excused’ from ‘unexcused’ absences. Unsanctioned late arrivals and early departures will be tallied as absences.
4) Policy regarding Audits: the instructor expects auditors (whether formally enrolled as such or not) to meet the same attendance, preparation, and oral participation standards as those students who are taking the course for credit. The instructor does not expect auditors to prepare and submit any written assignments.
c. The Cuneiform Studies Laboratory (located in Macy 216) houses a number of lexical and grammatical aids (both print and electronic) for the close study of biblical and postbiblical Hebrew. Please consult with the instructor for access to this learning resource and the regulations regarding its use.
d. Assistance and solicitation of criticism is your right as a member of the class. It is not a privilege to be granted or withheld. Do not hesitate to request it nor wait too late in the course for it to be of help.
Resources for the Study of Jeremiah and Jeremiah Traditions
In addition to the Codex Leningradensis (= BHS) edition of the biblical books of Jeremiah and Lamentations, we will be giving close attention (as time warrants) to the following manuscripts, versions, commentaries, and parascriptural works:
1. Old Greek and LXX witnesses to these books, including Rahlfs; the Swete edition of LXX; and Codex Sinaiticus. The standard ‘critical’ edition—unavailable on-line or at Atkins Library—is Joseph Ziegler, ed.,Ieremias, Baruch, Threni, Epistula Ieremiae (3d ed.; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2006).
2. Peshitta (Syriac) version. One can consult the text of Codex Ambrosianus (7a1); unfortunately, the ‘scriptural’ Jeremiah corpus (i.e., Jeremiah; Lamentations; Baruch; Epistle of Jeremiah) has yet to appear in the ongoing critical edition sponsored by the Peshitta Institute at the University of Leiden. The Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch (= 2 Baruch) is available.
3. Targum Jonathan to Jeremiah and Targum Ketuvim to Lamentations, as in the texts reproduced in editions of Miqra’ot gedolot as well as that of Alexander Sperber, ed., The Bible in Aramaic (4 vols. in 5; Leiden: Brill, 1959-73), 3:133-263; 4A:142-49.
4. Hebrew fragments of these two biblical books from Qumran: 2QJer (2Q13); 4QJera (4Q70); 4QJerb (4Q71); 4QJerc (4Q72); 4QJerd (4Q71a); 4QJere (4Q71b); 3QLam (3Q3); 4QLam (4Q111); 5QLama (5Q6); 5QLamb (5Q7). Cf. also 4QapocrLam A (4Q179).
5. Hebrew fragments of these two biblical books from other pre-modern manuscripts (e.g., the Cairo Geniza). One of the more convenient places to access these for Jeremiah is in critical apparatus III of The Hebrew University Bible Project edition (based on the Aleppo Codex) of C. Rabin, S. Talmon, and E. Tov, eds., Sefer Yermeyahu (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1997).
6. Rashi, Ibn Ezra, and Radaq where available. As in the standard Miqra’ot gedolot.
7. Isolated quotations from these biblical books in classical and medieval rabbinic sources.
8. Modern western critical commentaries. Recommended in no particular order are these:
(1) William McKane, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Jeremiah (ICC 19; 2 vols.; Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1986-96).
(2) Jack R. Lundbom, Jeremiah 1-20: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (The Anchor Bible 21A; New York: Doubleday, 1999); idem, Jeremiah 21-36 … (The Anchor Bible 21B; New York: Doubleday, 1999); idem, Jeremiah 37-52 … (The Anchor Bible 21C; New York: Doubleday, 2004).
(3) William L. Holladay, Jeremiah 1: A Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah (Hermeneia; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1986); idem, Jeremiah 2 … (Hermeneia; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1992).
(4) Robert P. Carroll, Jeremiah: A Commentary (OTL; Philadelphia: Westminster, 1986).
(5) Delbert R. Hillers, Lamentations: Introduction, Translation, and Notes (The Anchor Bible 7A; Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1972).
We will simultaneously study presumably contemporaneous works as well as the narrative, folk, and aggadic traditions which cluster around the figure of Jeremiah and his ‘activities’ which are recounted in a variety of scriptural and parascriptural sources emanating from Jewish, Christian, and Islamic circles. A by no means exhaustive list must include:
1. Other late First Temple or exilic era biblical texts presumably pertinent to Jeremiah and Lamentations, such as Deuteronomy; the so-called Deuteronomistic History; Ezekiel; Deutero-Isaiah; and select Psalms.
2. Second Temple, Roman, Byzantine, and early Islamic era Jewish texts that perpetuate Jeremiah legends or quote from his writings; e.g., the Epistle of Jeremiah and the Book of Baruch found in the Septuagint and its daughter versions; 2 Macc 2:1-8; 15:11-16; or Eupolemus apud Eusebius, Praep. ev. 9.39.2-5. Here special attention should be given to Devorah Dimant, Qumran Cave 4 XXI: Parabiblical Texts, Part 4: Pseudo-Prophetic Texts (DJD 30; Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2001), 91-260 and Plates IV-XII; and Jens Herzer, 4 Baruch (Paraleipomena Jeremiou) (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2005). In addition to the Qumran texts edited by Dimant, we will examine CD 8:20-21; 4Q384 (4QpapApocryphon of Jeremiah B?); and 4Q470 (4QText Mentioning Zedekiah) for their possible relevance to early Jewish Jeremiah traditions.
3. New Testament traditions (Matt 16:14) or ‘citations’ (Matt 2:17; 27:9).
4. Other early Christian and patristic citations or traditions: note especially the entries sub voce ‘Jeremiah’ in the Greek and Syriac Lives of the Prophets. An English translation of one of the Greek manuscripts of this work is conveniently available in James H. Charlesworth, ed., The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (2 vols.; Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Co., 1983-85), 2:386-88.
5. Various rabbinic legends about Jeremiah. These are most easily accessible via Louis Ginzburg, The Legends of the Jews (7 vols.; Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 1909-38).
6. Traditions about Jeremiah in Isra’iliyat collections as transmitted by tradents like Ibn Qutayba, Ya‘qubi, Tabari, etc. Note especially Q 2:259 and the interpretive traditions assembled by Brannon M. Wheeler, Prophets in the Quran: An Introduction to the Quran and Muslim Exegesis (London and New York: Continuum, 2002), 287-90.
7. Later Muslim ‘tales of the prophets’ (qisas al-anbiya’) collections.
Some Supplemental Bibliography for Assessing Jeremiah (not all of which are necessarily available in Atkins Library)
Rainer Albertz, A History of Israelite Religion in the Old Testament Period, Volume II: From the Exile to the Maccabees (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1994), 369-99.
George J. Brooke, “The Book of Jeremiah and its Reception in the Qumran Scrolls,” in The Book of Jeremiah and its Reception (ed. A. H. W. Curtis and T. Römer; Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1997), 183-205.
Robert Hayward, The Targum of Jeremiah (The Aramaic Bible 12; Wilmington, Del.: Michael Glazier, 1987).
Montague Rhodes James, The Lost Apocrypha of the Old Testament: Their Titles and Fragments (London: SPCK, 1920), 62-64; 77-79. This source is available electronically here.
Robert A. Kraft and A.-E. Purintun, Paraleipomena Jeremiou (SBLTT 1; Missoula, Mont.: Society of Biblical Literature, 1972).
K. H. Kuhn, “A Coptic Jeremiah Apocryphon,” Le Muséon 83 (1970): 95-135; 291-350.
Wolf Leslau, Falasha Anthology (Yale Judaica Series 6; New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1951), 57-76. Provides an English translation of an Ethiopic ‘Apocalypse of Baruch’ sometimes termed 5 Baruch.
Jack R. Lundbom, “Baruch, Seraiah, and Expanded Colophons in the Book of Jeremiah,” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 36 (1986): 89-114.
Sigmund Mowinckel, Prophecy and Tradition: The Prophetic Books in the Light of the Study of the Growth and History of the Tradition (Oslo: Dybwad, 1946). Re-issued as idem, The Spirit and the Word: Prophecy and Tradition in Ancient Israel (ed. K. C. Hanson; Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2002).
Alexander Rofé, The Prophetical Stories: The Narratives about the Prophets in the Hebrew Bible, Their Literary Types and History (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1988), 106-22; 197-213.
______, “The Arrangement of the Book of Jeremiah,” Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 101 (1989): 390-98.
Christopher R. Seitz, “The Prophet Moses and the Canonical Shape of Jeremiah,” Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 101 (1989): 3-27.
Emanuel Tov, The Book of Baruch (SBLTT 8; Missoula, Mont.: Scholars Press, 1975). Features a Hebrew retroversion of the Greek text of 1:1-3:8.
______, “The Literary History of the Book of Jeremiah in the Light of its Textual History,” in Empirical Models for Biblical Criticism (ed. Jeffrey H. Tigay; Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1985), 211-37.